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Published: Friday, 5/1/2009

FAMILIES COPING

Ruiz family feels blessed to have found community aid

BY STEVE EDER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The home of Abelino and Jeanne Ruiz is in preforeclosure, and the couple are working with legal assistance to keep their home. Mr. Ruiz lost his manufacturing job in October. Now he and his wife, a stayat-home mom, are seeking jobs to help make ends meet. The home of Abelino and Jeanne Ruiz is in preforeclosure, and the couple are working with legal assistance to keep their home. Mr. Ruiz lost his manufacturing job in October. Now he and his wife, a stayat-home mom, are seeking jobs to help make ends meet.
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Drowning in bills, the Ruiz family almost had the water to their home turned off.

The family, which has been reeling financially since Abelino Ruiz lost his manufacturing job in October, couldn't come up with the $1,100 they owed on their water bill. So in early April, the water company sent a truck to their home to turn off their water.

"The reason they didn't shut us off is because something was wrong with the cap," wife Jeanne said.

That same day, the family worked out an arrangement to pay $300 to keep their water on.

"It was scary," Mrs. Ruiz said. "The first thing we think about are the kids."

READ MORE: Poverty Line -- Unraveling the safety net

Jeanne and Abelino have four children: Abelino, Jr., 11, Jenna, 8, Adriana, 6, and Angela, 5.

In October, Mr. Ruiz lost his job as a factory worker at Riker Products. Mrs. Ruiz left her job as an executive assistant in 2000 to tend to her family. Now both are out of work and looking for jobs to make ends meet. Because of their financial problems, the family's West Toledo home is in preforeclosure; they're working with legal assistance to keep their house.

"We keep looking for jobs, but there's not much out there," Mr. Ruiz said. "We have to keep our heads up. Something will come through. It is just in the nick of time that things come through."

Things have been working out, at the last minute, for the family in the last few weeks.

The Ruiz family was selected by a local school to get help at Easter. They received 10 bags of groceries, items for their kids, and flowers.

"They adopted our family for the Easter holiday, and that was a blessing because after paying the water bill, we didn't know what we were going to do," Mrs. Ruiz said.

To fill the days, Mr. Ruiz is job-hunting and working around the house, like building a backyard fence to keep his children safe. "To tell you the truth, I'm feeling pretty blessed," he said.

Even their children are chipping in.

Abelino, Jr., started his own pet-walking business so he won't have to ask his parents for money during these tight times.



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